Calorie Banking For Weight Loss Maintenance

Once patients have reached maintenance, “calorie banking” is a concept that is a very practical approach in helping them balance their food intake for life. It stems from the idea that we live in a society that is basically 5 days on and 2 days off (referring to a work or school week).

Once a patient has lost weight and wishes to go on maintenance, their caloric food intake is slowly increased to1200 calories for ladies and 1500 for men. At this time we start to talk about the calorie banking principle.

Let’s say that a female patient has lost down to 130 lbs. Her approximate caloric needs to maintain this weight would be 1700-1800 cal. If we were to increase her intake to that level, there would be no room for extras (as we all know, it is usually the extras that are responsible for weight gain). Once we outline the 1200 cal. plan we get our patients, over the following week, to see if there would be any extra food choices they would like to add to this (for example, another bread serving which would add about 70 calories). We need this input because we want them to feel that their food intake will be adequate for the five regular days of the week. This then, would work out to be about 400 – 500 cal. per day less than they would need to maintain their weight. We now transfer this 2000-2500 cal. (representing five days) into a theoretical calorie bank that they can spend and draw from on the weekend (or any other times during the week when they have extras).

Basically therefore it is a way to balance your “food intake account” for the week; just like you would balance a real bank account.

For men, we apply the same principle but use a 1500 cal. diet as a base.

Please note:

Always keep in mind that these numbers are approximate, but its understanding and applying the basic “calorie banking” principle that is important. We also strongly emphasize to our patients the importance of ongoing maintenance visits (weekly at first, then every 2 weeks, then three weeks and finally monthly) to ensure that the “calorie banking” concept is working for them.

Weight maintenance is a life-long balancing act. In all reality, we have to work on balancing our food intake (i.e. Energy Intake), our activity and exercise (i.e. Energy Expenditure) and our water intake for life. Above all, we have to keep our attitude and motivation positive .I always say that the best exercise of all, is to keep our head going!! I’m confident that applying the above ideas, including the “Calorie Banking” principle will be key factors in your life long weight control success.

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